Sunday, April 29, 2007

Oh Drat!

The red cardigan is all seamed. Sleeves set in. Side seams sewn up. The neckband is done. Now to just do the button bands.

But how wide should they be? Well it depends on the size of the buttons right? Herein lies the problem. The day I went into the city for the Radical Lace and Subversive stitching show I bought the buttons. At the amazing store M&J Trimming. I liked that store a lot by the way. It's bright and colorful and cheery and clean and super-organized. (My local sewing/button store is a little dingy and could really benefit from some cheer and some clean) And they have a huge selection, so of course I would find the perfect buttons there.

See? Perfect! Only, not-so-perfect. This is all I bought. Five buttons. Five buttons?!?!?! What was I thinking? All I can think is that in the past I have knit sweaters with only five buttons I guess. But you always need an extra, for just in case. Plus this sweater is different. It's a smaller size, a smaller gauge, everything is smaller. (Which is making a much better fit, in the past things have turned out somewhat drapey at times) But smaller buttons also would mean-more buttons. These guys are on the smaller size and only five looks ridiculous. And alas. I just don't have more. I've emailed M&J Trimming's customer service email a couple of days ago. And well, maybe they'll write back but... I HAVE NO PATIENCE!!! I AM ON THE BUTTON BANDS AND I JUST WANT THIS THING DONE!!!

Really, it's so close to done it's ridiculous. So what's a girl to do? Head to the dingy not so great local store? Get a crowbar and try to find time to schlep back into the city somewhere in my joke of a schedule? Of course not! The times that try women's souls are also often perfect opportunities to whip out the charge card. Enter The My new source for buying buttons online. So I did some damage, ordered 10 of 3 different kinds of buttons that I think may be comparable somewhat to the 'perfect' buttons and well, we'll just see where this takes us. And if M&J Trimming comes through and emails me back that they've found more of my button that I can order then I'll probably order them again from them too. Something tells me I can just see myself getting in this situation again, so maybe it is time to start stockpiling some buttons...

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Spring has sprung

And I've been buying some yarn! This is the Mason Dixon Pre-Pack Kit from Elmore-Pisgah. Isn't it just so pretty? I actually knew about Elmore-Pisgah before the Mason Dixon knitting book. I don't remember how but I've had that link in my favorites from way back. I had always wanted to order a bunch but could never decide on colors. I think they did a great job matching these up. Originally I thought, wouldn't it be nice if I could knit a bunch of washcloths for the moms in my life for Mother's Day? Wouldn't it? But wouldn't it also be nice if Mother's day was more than 3 weeks away? Alas it is not. So perhaps I'll be knitting those gifts for the moms in my life for Christmas. Or next Mother's Day? I don't care all I know is I can't wait to cast these on and knit them in all their spring and pretty color glory.

But I haven't cast on yet, because I'm in the middle of this.

Wheee! One more bit of wool knitting before Spring settles in for good. This is lovely Taos wool made by Crystal Palace. It was gifted to me by my Knitters Tea Swap Pal Anne from Wandering Cyberspace from the Cornfields. I ordered some extra from Jimmy Beans Wool because I knew I would want the wider version. Between getting this yarn and the Peaches and Cream from Elmore Pisgah in the mail I have decided the yarn buying alone could be a new and fun hobby for me in and of itself. Anyway the pattern for the scarf is actually here and it's free and wonderful. They actually have a bunch of great patterns there you should check out. I memorized this one after just a few rows. I love the texture and it's soft and warm. It keeps my attention but not so much that I can't concentrate on other things. Like the tivo I finally got to catch up on today- especially that cute-as-a-stitchmarker Apolo Anton Ohno. Oh no? Oh yes....

Monday, April 16, 2007

Cuteness. At warp speed.

Blog activity has been temporarily interrupted. We have a visitor.

My niece isn’t the only one visiting this week. My sister and her husband are here too. It’s great to have them here and hang out and have family time together. Which is also time to try and overcome my new photography challenge. Try to get a decent picture of this one during the .003 seconds she might actually stand still once in awhile.

It's tough.

Even though there aren’t knitting pictures I assure you there has been knitting activity. I gave my mom the Cloverleaf Mitts for her birthday and she went nuts over them. She adores them. I adore them too. And now I find myself coveting them. Time to make some for me now I guess. I’ve also cast on for a scarf I'm completely in love with. But between the toddler photography challenge and the low light conditions created by this weeks nor'easter, better to wait until next week and do it up right. I feel bad not properly blogging this week, but the niece (and her parents, gosh I keep forgetting them!) is only here for a little while, and you know she won't be this adorable, hyper, and very sweet age forever!

(And did I mention it took both my sister and her husband to get her dressed yesterday! And they're both college graduates! My sister went to an Ivy League school!!! But getting a toddler in tights, I guess it just levels that playing field huh? I don't know, maybe it's just funny when you get to watch your sister do it. High comedy!!!! How did I miss getting pictures of that? Hmm....)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Off and on the needles

Happy Easter to those who celebrate it. And to those who don't a very Happy Sunday to you also.

We're off to my in-laws today where they are having a crowd of people. This is the take along I've made, an Orange Dreamsicle Cake from one of my favorite baking books The Cake Mix Doctor. For my foodie friends-if you have not checked out this book you should. I've had it for years and have yet to make a bad cake from it. With hits like "The Coca Cola Cake" and "Mississippi Mud Cake" no, it's not high culinary culture or something you'd want to make your wedding cake from. But everything is a crowd pleaser, and with the cake-mix doctoring methods, a lot of time it's like mix it up, bake it, frost/glaze/ice it and go.

While I don't have good easter egg or candy pictures to show you, I do have a good picture of some easter egg colored socks.

Pattern: Jaywalker Socks by Grumperina

Yarn: Trekking XXL and then leftover Kroy socks when I ran out of the Trekking

Modifications: Obviously there's the different colored toe-thing which was completely unintentional. I also made the heel flap a few stitches deeper-and they're still pretty snug.

What I think: At the moment I’m just glad these are done. Running out of yarn wasn’t the only issue at the end, somehow when I decreased & went to kitchner the toe I had more stitches on one needle than the other. Sorrowfully frustrated at that point I honestly just divided them evenly between the needles and grafted away.

Here is my thing-people shouldn’t complain about public television. They shouldn’t complain about the free samples in the grocery store or free knitting patterns on the internet. They’re FREE after all. We pay nothing for them. If you don’t like it don’t partake. That said I will now contradict myself and probably come out sounding like a total hypocrite. I have noticed some times there is a difference between that free stuff and the stuff you pay for. I don’t know why I had so much trouble with these socks. Maybe it was me, frogging this so many times in the beginning was hard. Definitely somewhat my fault-I chose to do a 'gauge sock' instead of a 'gauge swatch'. But still, the un-stretchiness of the sock completely surprised me and was difficult to work around. I just feel like I’m a little spoiled I guess. I’m used to getting my needles, getting my yarn, getting a pattern, and sitting down and knitting a pair of socks. At one point when I was knitting these I was whining about this to a friend who said "Yes, but now that you've frogged the socks, now you know what you're doing." And I continued to whine still more saying "Yes but I thought I knew what I was doing before I started them..." That said will I knit these socks again? Maybe. Someday. I do really like how they look. I like it that the stitch pattern was easy to memorize. After I had my sizing issues though, I’m wary to make them for another person as a gift. And there are already many more patterns in line I’m ready to try and I'm going to have to start my Christmas sock gift knitting sometime.

Cast on cast off, cast on cast off. Cast on is the Cloverleaf Mitts in Misti Alpaca, just ready for me to pick up the thumb stitches and finish it off.

I had bought the yarn for the Anemoi mittens in grey and green. It was a bad purchase. Not only is it almost impossible to tell the difference between the colors in anything less than perfect sunlight, I somehow managed to get 2 balls of sportweight in gray, one ball of sportweight in green, and one ball of worsted in green. Duh.

I came upon Knitspot when I noticed the Yarn Harlot knitting their pattern for the Delicato Mitts. Anne's catalog has lots of cute patterns for mitts that don't take a lot of yarn. Perfect for using up stash, and if you buy patterns from her you get the gratification of buying something knitting-related for yourself without adding to the stash too. The patterns are clear, well written and the photos are great. Again-possibly the big difference between some free patterns and the patterns you pay for. The Cloverleaf Mitts pattern is wordy. It is wordy and it is detailed. And that is wonderful-they’ve really gone above and beyond anticipating any confusion I might have along the way. And I think so far the mitt is looking great, I would really recommend purchasing this pattern!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Totally Radical...

So Saturday I packed up the second Jaywalker sock and took it into New York City for some culture. (See how the sock is almost done? Yeah, so is the yarn. I see an unmatched toe in this socks future and I really think I'm ok with that at this point.) Along with my knitterly friends Tracy and Chris we went to the Museum of Arts and Design to see the Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting exhibit. Definitely more art than craft it was really something to see. Some of my favorite pieces would have to include an untitled piece by Hildur Bjarnadóttir which was actually a crocheted lace tablecloth surrounded by 3 dimensional skulls around the edges. Very cool. Another favorite-the work of Piper Shepard written about in Knitty here, was simply stunning. She had taken huge swaths of fabric on rolls and hand cut what seemed like miles and miles of lace panels out of the fabric by hand with exacto knives.

Before the museum we went for a visit to the amazing School Products. Wow. What an amazing yarn store. It was big and bright and just had tons and tons of stuff. They seemed to have a lot of laceweight which was good for me, that's just what I was in the market for. They had an impressive stock of Koigu. I see why this stuff makes people weak. It was hard to resist. But I remembered my new 'No New Sock Yarn' mantra and stayed strong! Lots of unusual things, silk blends, coned yarns, and cashmere.... Now this might seem silly to some but I always kind of wondered what the big deal was about cashmere. I think maybe I just let myself stop at the price tag and that was enough to dissinterest me right there. But at School Products cashmere is actually affordable. It was reasonable to find skeins in the $30 dollar range that would have enough make a nice, respectable lace weight scarf. I on the other hand just blew that figure right out of the water and picked up enough of the stuff to make a big ol' drapey shawl for myself. It's actually a cashmere boucle, in a dark hunter green with a few variances of brown and gold here and there. I'd show a picture but the photo I tried to take in today's cloudy weather of it looks so bad! It's enough to sour generations on cashmere in the future! So no picture, I promise when I start knitting with it you'll get to see it, promise.

And of course the company just made the day a complete success. We knitted on the train both ways, took part in a great lunch and libations at a brewery near the museum and giggled and giggled a whole, whole lot.

In the spirit of the Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting show when I got home I decided to try my hand at some Subversive Knitting and come up with some soft sculpture pieces. You know, maybe to keep in the wall unit by the tv, or to submit for an exhibition or something.

Just kidding. It's not sculpture. But it is the finished pieces of my red cardigan! Finally! Let the drudgery of seaming and button bands begin! Sigh. But this has to mean I'm at least halfway there right? Maybe?